Comments and Opinions
The Third Quarter of 2021 began with optimism, fueled by increasing vaccination rates, employees returning to work, and schools and businesses re-opening. The stock markets were strong in the first half of the quarter – reaching all-time highs. However, the markets ended the quarter on a pessimistic note. A surge in covid-19 Delta variant cases, increasing supply chain problems with warnings of possible shortages of goods for the holiday season, and continuing inflation slowed economic growth and erased earlier market gains.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average ended the quarter down 1.5%, the Nasdaq Composite was down 0.2% and the S&P 500 closed up 0.6%. However, each of these indices remain positive year-to-date with the DJIA up 12.1%, the S&P 500 up 15.9%, and the Nasdaq up 12.7%.
Historically, the month of September has produced weak stock market returns. Some analysts believe that the negative “September Effect” on markets can be attributed to seasonal behavioral bias as investors change their portfolios at the end of summer to cash in. Another reason could be that most mutual funds cash in their holdings to harvest tax losses. There is a statistical case for the September effect depending on the period analyzed, but much of the theory is anecdotal.
Source: Investopedia September 09, 2021
In the Fourth Quarter, markets will be focused on the continued progress of reopening, the Federal Reserve’s expected tightening of monetary policy, inflation, and future tax policy to name a few issues. Year-end is a good time to review your portfolios, rebalance if necessary, and consult with your tax professional regarding any losses in your non-retirement accounts. Please call our office with any questions or concerns.
October 18th to the 24th, 2021 was designated National Estate Planning Awareness Week. Estate planning is an often overlooked element of financial wellness. It is estimated that over half of Americans – 56% – do not have an up-to-date estate plan. Source: www.naepc.org
Estate planning is not just a tool for wealthy individuals and families. Whether your finances are complicated or more simple everyone should have a plan that determines the way their assets are to be distributed after their death.
A basic estate plan should include:
- Will or Trust
- Health Care Proxy on file with your health professionals
- Durable Power of Attorney
- Beneficiary Designations for your retirement accounts
- Transfer on Death registrations for your non-retirement accounts
- Appointment of a Personal Representative or Executor/Executrix to administer your estate.
- Gifting Plan if applicable
These basic building blocks of an estate plan should be periodically reviewed and updated if necessary. Your Personal Representative should have access to the necessary information. A well-thought-out plan can avoid family disputes, litigation, excess estate taxes, and court costs. Discussing the plan and communicating your wishes to your family may serve to avoid any misunderstandings in the future.
The performance quoted herein represents past performance. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Investors cannot invest directly in an Index and performance represents gross returns without net fees if any.
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